Re: issue #4 - tech.writing survey

Subject: Re: issue #4 - tech.writing survey
From: Buck Buchanan <buck -dot- buchanan -at- CITICORP -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 11:54:28 -0700

> most of the e-mail received rejected the notion that the manuals
> maintained by an organization should all have the "same look and feel";
> i.e. be organized, presented, formatted, produced, and revised to in a
> consistent manner over the lifetime of the document.
> several writers rejected outright the concept of standardization - rather
> one person was outraged that such a thought would threaten his "art".



One of the most important aspects of documentation is standardization
(consistency). The customer likes to pick up a manual and know that
it's going to work like the others from the same company.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Installation


If it's necessary to make a change because of changes in the customers'
(collective) tastes or preferences (or when management changes), then
make it! But, keep everything like the new one until another major
change is needed.

When "artistes" inject opinions into documentation, they make it tough
on everyone, particularly the customers.

If you artists have a new and better way of doing things, you should
publish a new Style Manual and try marketing it. If it's really good,
you should make a mint. As a former professional pilot I thank God that
she forced all aircraft manufacturers to make their Flight Manuals
conform to a specific standard. Other disciplines (like ours) need the
same consistency.

We (CTC) have a couple of standards; an internal one (which I seldom
agree with) plus Microsoft Manual of Style. And I hate MSMS, but they
are standards that have repeatedly covered my butt. I'll continue to
use them until ordered by the boss to change.

That's my opinion and you're stuck with it!

Buck Buchanan
Software Documentation
Citicorp Technology Center
Westlake, Texas
Speaking for me, not for them!

buck -dot- buchanan -at- citicorp -dot- com
Home: writer -at- wf -dot- net

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